Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

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Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Grumblepig » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:28 pm

Hi. This is my first post here, pretty new to the board. I've been playing with analogue synths for ages, and have had a few lovely items in my collection. Still have a Korg MS-10 and a Pro One back home, but I'm now living in England and craving something new (uh, or old!). I'm not at all a tech-head, and for all the synths I've had, I barely know the difference between filter types/circuit chips etc. Just trying to give a bit of background before I launch into my actual question. I use synths for anything/everything - bass sounds, lead, effects, atmosphere, processing. Ok...

Wondering between a brand new Doepfer Dark Energy or an old, but loved, CS-5. I've never played either of these before, but have been reading raves about both. I like the idea of a standalone synth, one that just simply does its thing well (the CS), but I can also dig something easily connectable/midi-able (DE).

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Psy_Free » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:32 pm

Welcome to the forums.

I can't speak from personal experience of the Dark Energy, but I do have a CS-5. As a simple 1 Osc monosynth it's pretty good. Useful for nice leads, (non-very-fat) basses (PWM is great on it) and the usual synth squiggly sounds. It has a good set of interfaces : CV & Gate In & Out (Hz/Volt not 1 Volt/Oct) and External In. Overall, it's nice sounding, quite versatile and reliable, not great, but good.

From what I've heard & read about the Dark Energy, it has a lot going for it. More sound possibilities than the CS-5 thanks to 2 LFOs, FM & exponential FM, a host of inputs and lots of interfacing options (MIDI, CV/Gate, USB). One thing I did notice though was no Portamento/Glide or Noise Generator. It's based around the CEM3394 synth-on-a-chip (as used in the SCI 6 Track), which seems to divide some people's opinions, but I think sounds good. A nice thing about the DE is the size & portability too, which might be a factor if you have limitations on studio space.

If I had to choose one now, I''d probably go for the Dark Energy. If you did want a CS monosynth in the future, it would be worth checking out the CS-15, which is like 2 CS-5s in a box.
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Grumblepig » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:33 pm

Hey Psy - thanks for the feedback. I think you're right that the DE doesn't have portamento or white noise, though I understand that the glide function is an optional add-on. The DE's seem to have a much wider range, sonically and otherwise, but the CS-5 has that "puppy cute" appeal! Still, your suggestion of holding out for a CS-15 makes good sense, especially given that I've not played any of the CS-series. I've seen DE's listed at around £360 (plus a bit for the portamento add), while the CS-5 is at £250. £250 for ANY analogue synth seems decent, but I've got "buyer's bug" and pretty limited funds. Is £250 too much, do you think?

Cheers again,

G'Pig

P.S. do you have any sample recordings of your CS-5?
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Psy_Free » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:38 pm

£250-£300 is probably about the going rate for a CS-5 these days depending on condition. CS-15's are between £450-£500. That said you can sometimes get lucky and pick either up a bit cheaper. Prices of 'vintage' synths have been on a more than steady rise in the last few years so the days of £100 CS-5s are probably gone for good :(

I don't have any demos of the CS-5, but there are a few on Youtube worth checking out.
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby nuketifromorbit » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:22 pm

there is a glide option for the dark energy that can be purchased separately. Its extremely easy to install also.
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby calaverasgrande » Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:53 pm

I've owned a Doepfer Dark Energy for a couple weeks now. It is kind of hard to believe that it's a "synth on a chip". It sounds very huge next to my Moog MG1. I at first took it to be modular-style noise box. Something to do CV math with and hook up to my MP201. On a lark I hooked up a midi keyboard and was surprised by how playable this thing is. It takes a little while to get used to some of the controls though. The envelope doesnt seem to kick in until you are on extreme settings, and there is a L/M/H switch for the envelope?
The PW also takes some gettgin used to. But the sound is amazing. I will probably buy 1 or two more of these.
The CS stuff is great as well, but these days it seems like every old synth is garnering more cash than it's worth. The CS are all very good, but they are all old and will require upkeep.
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Grumblepig » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:28 pm

Hey - I posted originally in Feb. and I did go ahead a pick up the Doepfer synth a couple months back. Have to say I love it. I get squeamish sometimes with synth slang, so I won't say how fat or warm the Dark Energy sounds, but there's no way NOT to use the word juicy! It really has a delicious sound. Since I've not had a proper analogue synth for a while, I've been using the DE for all it's worth, but it is capable of subtle sounds as well. For example, I blended it with an M-Tron clarinet to make for a "Turkish-ish" reed-sounding track. But for the most part I'm using the DE to jump out of the mix, to be as synthy as it wants.

Given that the small music room here is already crowded, and that we might soon be moving to Germany, I think the DE was a wise call otherwise. As much as I might have been charmed by the CS 5, there's not really any room for it. The DE, on the other hand, sits easily on top of my Novation X-Station.

I didn't go for the glide option, but I can easily pick it up next time I'm at the synth shop.

Anyway, to sum up, I'm more than pleased with the Doepfer synth - I'm using it for all sorts of music and sounds. It can do "pretty" and "hideous" as well. Takes up very little space but looks great wherever it sits. Hoorah!
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Grumblepig » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:45 am

I'm back! I'm now living in Berlin, and have been so pleased with the Dark Energy since I bought it. What a sound. Anyway, someone is selling a Yamaha CS-5 here in Berlin for €200. I've still never actually heard/seen a CS-5 in real life. Now that I have the DE, I'm yet again tempted by the Yamaha, wondering if it might be a nice one to sync up to the Dark Energy. Anyone here think the combo of the CS-5 and the DE would be satisfying, and is the Yamaha worth it at that price?

Cheers!
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Stab Frenzy » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:05 pm

Grumblepig wrote:Anyone here think the combo of the CS-5 and the DE would be satisfying, and is the Yamaha worth it at that price?

I think they would be a pretty frustrating combo, as the Yammy is Hz/V and the DE is V/Oct.

If I were you I'd be looking at a Doepfer Mini-case or a TTA Happy Ending Kit and a few modules to expand your DE with. Go into Schneidersbuero and have a look around and see what you could get for the money. A cheaper option (or to get more for your money) would be to look at the BST forum on Muffwiggler.
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Grumblepig » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:44 pm

Hey Stab - thanks for your take on the DE/CS-5 combo... Really, if the two synths wouldn't sync easily, then not much reason for me to spend money on a synth that nobody says anything great about. And thanks also for the Muff clue. I didn't know about this site.

Weirdly, I haven't been back to Schneiders Buero since we moved to Berlin. Well overdue for a visit, if only to buy the portamento knob for the Doepfer! I think it was obvious I was not a modular lad on my first visit to the shop - when it became clear I was overwhelmed and without any specific focus, they showed me to a room with a massive rack of Doepfer modules and handed me some patch cords. I felt like it was some sort of Harry Potter test and they didn't let me out until I'd conjured a satisfying wobbly synth sound! Love that shop - it feels like the true heart of Berlin!
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby cgren72 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:33 pm

Grumblepig wrote:Hey Stab - thanks for your take on the DE/CS-5 combo... Really, if the two synths wouldn't sync easily, then not much reason for me to spend money on a synth that nobody says anything great about. And thanks also for the Muff clue. I didn't know about this site.

Weirdly, I haven't been back to Schneiders Buero since we moved to Berlin. Well overdue for a visit, if only to buy the portamento knob for the Doepfer! I think it was obvious I was not a modular lad on my first visit to the shop - when it became clear I was overwhelmed and without any specific focus, they showed me to a room with a massive rack of Doepfer modules and handed me some patch cords. I felt like it was some sort of Harry Potter test and they didn't let me out until I'd conjured a satisfying wobbly synth sound! Love that shop - it feels like the true heart of Berlin!


Wow that sounds like a pretty interesting shop. And I am also a happy DE user. Tell me how you like any mods that you may do :D
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Grumblepig » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:41 pm

cgren72 wrote:
Grumblepig wrote:Hey Stab - thanks for your take on the DE/CS-5 combo... Really, if the two synths wouldn't sync easily, then not much reason for me to spend money on a synth that nobody says anything great about. And thanks also for the Muff clue. I didn't know about this site.

Weirdly, I haven't been back to Schneiders Buero since we moved to Berlin. Well overdue for a visit, if only to buy the portamento knob for the Doepfer! I think it was obvious I was not a modular lad on my first visit to the shop - when it became clear I was overwhelmed and without any specific focus, they showed me to a room with a massive rack of Doepfer modules and handed me some patch cords. I felt like it was some sort of Harry Potter test and they didn't let me out until I'd conjured a satisfying wobbly synth sound! Love that shop - it feels like the true heart of Berlin!


Wow that sounds like a pretty interesting shop. And I am also a happy DE user. Tell me how you like any mods that you may do :D


It's synth-geek heaven, that little weirdo shop! Have to confess I'm not likely to do any sort of modifications to my DE - I struggle with keeping track of all two patch cables that came with the thing! I'm not one to open up anything unless I'm planning on breaking it for no good reason! Completely unskilled in the mod department. As far as I understand, adding the glide function to the DE is super simple, and that's about far as I'll go. Curious, of course, if you've done any tweaking with your DE...!
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby cgren72 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:11 pm

I haven't either, but I am thinking of the glide mod too. I've only had it for a few months, so I haven't needed to mod it to keep me interested in it yet lol. maybe someone else will post their results, hopefully. But yeah, the glide mod seems pretty simple.

And thanks for that good idea stab, now I get to spend a few hundred more dollars lol. that would provide quite a bit of flexibility compaired to desktop.

For anyone reading this that doesn't have modular or a DE, the DE has alot of good modulation capabilities and doesn't seem lacking at all.

Running a signal out from the dark energy to a chorus pedal with stereo outs sounds pretty intense if one of the outputs goes to a preamp/interface/whatever you use and the other output of the pedal goes to the audio in on the DE. One of the many things this can do with the very usable audio in jack.. etc etc
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby dustinh » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:07 pm

On a slightly related note, I'm quite curious to hear how the Dark Energy 2 will sound. It will be pretty sweet to have a multimode filter with the ability to morph between filter types. I'm kinda glad I haven't bought a DE yet as I'll probably wait until the 2nd version is out. Will be curious to hear how the new 12 dB filter compares to the original 24 dB filter.
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Re: Yamaha CS-5 vs Doepfer Dark Energy

Postby Stab Frenzy » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:27 am

dustinh wrote:On a slightly related note, I'm quite curious to hear how the Dark Energy 2 will sound. It will be pretty sweet to have a multimode filter with the ability to morph between filter types. I'm kinda glad I haven't bought a DE yet as I'll probably wait until the 2nd version is out. Will be curious to hear how the new 12 dB filter compares to the original 24 dB filter.

The original is really nice and I imagine the 2 is going to be as well. I imagine the two filters will complement one another very nicely, I find having both kinds of filter in my modular lets me cover a huge amount of sonic ground.

Of course as soon as the original DE is no longer available it will immediately start to sound bigger, fatter, phatter, grittier and all those other words that most people have no idea what they mean. ;)
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